Monday, October 23, 2017

Misguided ‘Geostorm’ is Not a Disaster

Review of "Geostorm"
Gerald Butler and Alexandra Maria Lara in Geostorm (Warner Bros.)

 MOVIE REVIEW 

There was a time when movie studios could create a disaster film based on one act of God event like Earthquake (1974), Flood! (1976) and Avalanche (1978). Today though, Hollywood seems to think that bigger is always better and has tried to prove it in more recent years with movies like Armageddon (1998), Deep Impact (1998), 2012 (2009), San Andreas (2015) and now Geostorm.

In Geostorm, a series of natural disaster begin to take place all over the planet (not unlike recent real-life events) but with a twist. People are literally freezing in dessert or melting in the arctic (very unlike recent real-life events). This has many of the world leaders concerned because just a few years earlier, satellites were sent into orbit to help control climate change and keep the world safe with the Dutch Boy program named after the tale of the little Dutch boy who saved his village from a flood. As it turns out, the machinery that was meant to save us is now trying to kill us. Oh, technology. To make matters worse, it appears that some people who know the secret of the strange events are being silenced.

Dean Devlin, writer and producer of Independence Day, makes his feature film directional debut with a script that he co-wrote with Paul Guyot. Gerald Butler stars as the brains behind these super satellites who must go back up into the sky to find out what is going wrong with them while his (much) younger brother Max (played by Jim Sturgess) is on earth trying to do the same. Luckily, his (secret) girlfriend, Sarah (Abbie Cornish) is also a Secret Service agent who can get him into places he is not supposed to go. She spouts off lines like, “I could lose my job” and then goes along with the plan anyway. The movie also stars Alexandra Maria Lara who plays a space station astronaut, Andy Garcia who plays the president of the United States and Ed Harris who plays the Secretary of State. If you don’t blink, you’ll catch Mare Whittingham utter a line or two as well.

Geostorm may not be a contender for "Best Movie of the Year," but it is actually better than you would think. In fact, despite the far-out premise, the first half hour or so the movie plays out surprisingly well. The acting is quite good, though I don’t think anyone will believe that Butler and Sturgess could be confused for brothers. However, the longer the movie goes on, the more ridiculous it becomes. Some of the disasters that play out are unintentionally funny and while the CGI special effects are really pretty good, the whole thing feels false and you never really experience a sense of dread. While the same could be said for parts of the earlier films like Earthquake, those movies were based closer to reality which made them more terrifying to watch.

With all of that said, Geostorm is actually a very fun popcorn movie, but not in the same way that Sharknado is fun.) The disaster portion of the film is smaller while the bulk of the story is uncovering the mystery of why the Dutch Boy is going haywire. It’s more on an action film than a disaster film which smartly avoids becoming overly emotional. In short, Geostorm is misguided, but not a disaster of a film.

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